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Jan 21, 2010 01:38 PM

Midtown Global Market - what's the deal here now? [MSP]

So as a major foodie, I am quite embarrassed to admit that last week was my first visit to MGMkt since it's opening four years ago. How time flies. So I'm wondering - what are people thinking about the market here in 2010? What's missing? What's the hot & happenin'? Why aren't people talking about this as much anymore? Would love your opinion.

Midtown Global Market
920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407

Midtown Global Market
2929 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407

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  1. I'm a big fan of the feta cheese selection at the Holy Land Bakery. After tasting some of theirs, I wanted to spit out the President brand I bought today at Target. WAY too salty!

    I love the free parking, and the cheap clothing. This is one of my favorite places in the Twin Cities.

    7 Replies
    1. re: miki

      Miki, do you remember the kind you got that wasn't so salty? I thought Holy Land had more than one kind....

      I love Sirena Gorda- esp. the fish taco plate, hibiscus punch. That's kind of it, wish I had more to be excited about there. Want to like Salty Tart but their stuff is all kind of extreme sugary, I prefer European style baked goods. Oh and I've had some good stuff at Salsa a La Salsa.

      1. re: faith

        We've been to MGMkt a lot lately, mostly because our daughter can play in the kids area while we enjoy dinner. I agree with faith though that I wish there was more there to be excited about. My old standards are any of the chicken dishes from Holy Land, pork tamales from La Loma, and the fish tacos or ceviche from Sirena Gorda. Recently we've also gotten burritos from one of the other Mexican places (I believe the one facing the main dining/performance area) and they were good but not unique and definitely extremely heavy. Most of the other food vendors just don't inspire me.

        What I would love to see is a true Vietnamese places that focuses on pho, bahn mi, and noodle salads. Phams seems too Americanized Chinese - my father got the pho there once and he said it was good but the broth looked greasy to me. We'd also be there all the time if there was a sushi place, but I understand that it would be hard to have really fresh fish if you didn't have high business volume. Also, in light of the highly successful soul/Southern food place in Reading Terminal in Philly, I'd love to see that sort of American food versus the burgers and fries at Andy's Garage.

        1. re: katebauer

          Dang I miss Reading Terminal Mkt too, MGM has not really come up to that level. So Kate, what about the West Indies Soul place, don't they have soul type food? Thinking harder, I will admit that I do like one thing at Salty Tart, the little round 'milk buns' with caramelized onion/mushroom/cheese on top.......very tasty for around $2.50. Got a burger and fries once at Andy's not bad, retro type experience. They did cook it med. rare as I asked. Wish there was a place like Salumeria in Reading Terminal, with fancy Italian antipasto concoctions by the pound.

          1. re: faith

            I have absolutely given up on West Indies Soul. They are ALWAYS out of whatever it is I'm in the mood for. And on more than one occasion, I've gotten the impression that I was inconveniencing them by ordering food. Fortunately, they're right across from Sirena Gorda, which is always a home run. Most of my business, however, goes to Los Ocampo.

            1. re: gooey middle

              gooey, curious, why /what at Los Ocampo are you eating as opposed to Sirena. I'm guessing if you're in the mood for gooey cheesey carb-y stuff Los Ocampo is more in that vein? Please do tell....

              1. re: faith

                It isn't so much that Los Ocampo is so much better than Sirena Gorda, I'm just not as often in the mood for Mexican seafood. I like pork, and as such, I enjoy the tacos al pastor from Los Ocampo. I try to order something different every time, though, which isn't hard as their menu is extensive.

        2. re: faith

          It's been a while, but the one I got was an extra cream. My goal is to try them all. : )

          I would like to see more vendors at Midtown, but I think it's still a noble experiment. It's like the best of America. And it can only help the area, without bringing in all the corporate garbage.

          That area can be downright scary, and I know, because I used to work at a shelter there. But I love that they take it seriously, and have a guard in the street to call the cops if necessary.. (What, you thought he was just a crossing guard?)

          The more we patronize the market, the better it will be.

      2. What's missing? You. That's the great thing about capitalism. You can compensate for past mistakes. On that note, I just went tonight, and there seemed to be decent traffic. That said, only Los Ocampo had a line of any sort.

        I hadn't been to La Sirena Gorda, so I gave it a shot. Grabbed the fish taco special and a small ceviche. The ceviche was at least on par with Los Andes, and featured tremendous balance. Not too much acidity, plenty of kick. A winner.

        The fish tacos are the best I've had. I always find the dish to be lacking in flavor, with char marks on the fish or batter substituting for seasoning... you know what I'm talking about. These had a nice, subtly tangy (that's a dumb description) sauce with bits of pineapple.

        Wife grabbed some chicken tacos at Los Ocampo, as well as a churro and some chips and salsa. Los Ocampo is still great, as you might have guessed.

        We grabbed some dessert from salty tart, a caramel cheesecake and a pear pastry. Both are outstanding.

        All in all, dinner, dessert and a tall beer from one of the stores clocked in at about $30.

        9 Replies
        1. re: kevin47

          Kevin, I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed Sirena Gorda.............totally agree on the fish taco concept. I haven't had too much at Los Ocampo, I know everyone loves it.......I'm not that much of a meat person as far as chicken and fish tacos their menu isn't as accessible to me. I was admiring the pear pastry at salty tart the other day, even if I don't eat all the stuff it's kind of like a mini art museum.....glad to hear it was good.

          1. re: faith

            Los Ocampo has at least two different veggie fillings. Mushrooms is one and veggies is the other.

            1. re: churchka

              the location across the street also has squash blossoms and corn smut(huitlacoche).

              1. re: churchka

                The sope and huarache are good vegetarian options.

                1. re: kevin47

                  Vegetarian only in that you can order them plain. I presume the masa has lard in it (as all good masa does).

                  1. re: Foureyes137

                    Safe assumption. Sorry about that.

            2. re: kevin47

              Octopus tacos ate Serena Gorda are fantastic. Highly recommended to everyone.

              1. re: kevin47

                thanks kevin - i'm ON those fish tacos! :)

                1. re: tlmorgan

                  Cool, I ordered the mahi-mahi special, but I haven't heard anything bad about any of their versions.

              2. La Sirena Gorda is probably one of the best Mexican places in town. the tacos, flautas, quesadilla...even the rice and beans are great.

                Salty Tart has never done much for me.

                for home, some stuff that Grass Roots carries. specifically Prairie Pride Farm that you otherwise need to go to St. P for.

                4 Replies
                1. re: getgot211

                  It's a bit of a jaunt for me, but after picking up some fantastic eggs from the local guy( just saw above post!..must be Grass Roots) in the center, and hitting up Holy Land for a child's gyro (regular size, fries only) for around 4 bucks, I was pretty pleased. How much are the tamales at La Loma? Does anyone have recs for the best bargain meal at Holy Land (aside from the all you can eat for 10bucks)? Thanks!
                  I'm going back for eggs and fish tacos and a bit of browsing.

                  1. re: stepawayfromthetable

                    Tamales are very cheap at La Loma, they could definitely be part of a bargain meal at MGM, they are around $2 apiece and very good- I like the veggie and cheese one a lot, it has a nice strip of roasted pepper (poblano?) down the middle. NOT vegetarian though as all of their masa has lard in it, hence the yummy taste. I think the buffet is probably the biggest bargain there........I"m not that wild about their food though, lots of salt !

                    1. re: stepawayfromthetable

                      I suddenly had this thought of what would it be like if Sirena Gorda had a really nice sitdown restaurant.........overlooking the ocean.......oh yeah, that's an alternate reality.
                      Truthfully, that is one of the things about this market....most of the vendors don't have much in the way of 'nice' settings to sit and appreciate really good food, so maybe that is limiting the food quality of the overall place. Although I think Salsa A La Salsa has a pretty nice sitdown setup, maybe there could be more of those.

                      1. re: faith

                        Went to MGM for the first time in a long time last weekend. Ran in while husband and child napped in the car and took it home. Chicken curry plate with rice and beans, cornbread and candied yams from West Indies Soul was very good, homey, falling off the bone chicken. Manny's Special Torta was good as always, and 2 chocolate dulce de leche cupcakes from Salty Tart. Not overly sweet as you might think with ddl inside, and frosting was very good. Cupcake itself could have been a smidge moister, but overall very good! Def would like to go back for some fish tacos based on previous posters!

                  2. La Loma has the best mole that I have ever eaten.